Speeches & Transcripts

Remarks by Joyce Msuya at the Incheon International Organizations and MICE Career Fair 2015

September 11, 2015

Joyce Msuya, World Bank Special Representative, Republic of Korea Incheon International Organizations and MICE Career Fair 2015 Incheon, Korea, Republic of

As Prepared for Delivery

I would like to thank the Incheon Government for inviting me to this very important and timely event. Korea is at the heart of globalization, both as a donor and as a country that embraces citizens of the world. As a development partner, Korea has committed 0.15% of its GNI for ODA in 2015, an increase of 4.9% compared to 2014. As the first recipient country to become a donor, Korea’s active engagements show the commitment to assist other countries around the globe. Internally, in terms of foreigners residing in Korea, the number has tripled in the last 10 years, totaling around 1.75 million people. We need to understand that Korea has become a diverse, multi-cultural country. In such globalized context, Incheon is a city that we need to focus on, as this international business district accounts for 94% of the aggregate foreign direct investment of the rest of the FEZs. On top of this, IFEZ has added some 13,600 jobs, thus contributing to the revitalization of the local economy. 


The trend of globalization for Korea, and especially Incheon, suggests important implications particularly for the following two industries; International Development and MICE. As Korea continues its path for globalization, there is no doubt that more international conferences will be held, and more international organizations will expand their operations.

Currently, in Songdo, there are 13 international organizations including the World Bank Group (WBG). There are 23 international organizations that are currently housed in Korea. This refers that Songdo is home to more than half of the international organizations in Korea and is a location that provides critical foundation for globalization of Korea. Only 15 years ago, the land that we step on, the city that boasts its smartness, was non-existent. From the waves of the Yellow Sea, this city has become a hub for international organizations. In this context, Songdo is a global city where the international organizations interact with the Korean public widely including Korea Week 2015, hosted by the WBG Korea Office, and UN English Speech Contest in celebration of 70 years of operations.


What does this mean for the public and students? Everyone can be engaged in international development in one way or another. From participating in events to being a part of the international organization, students and the general public can understand what these organizations do and have planned in the future. As international organizations expand their operations in Songdo, more opportunities may arise for Korean nationals along with various channels to engage in. That is why this event is critical and timely that will guide the students and potential applicants to international organizations and embarking on their career as an international development practitioner.


Secondly, Korea has emerged in the recent years to play an important convening role in the international society. The Korean government has also been very active in promoting the MICE industry, providing monetary, logistical, and consultation support to attract international meetings. The results show that the expansion is occurring.  

Just to give you the number, Korea has hosted 635 international conferences/meetings in 2013 according to the Union of International Associations. This is approximately an increase of 2.36 times compared to 2007, while the number of international conferences globally has only increased by around 8% in the same period, showing the booming demand of Korea on the MICE industry. In terms of percentage, around 6% of the world’s international meetings are held in Korea as of 2013. Korea, in 2013, is actually ranked 3rd in the world as the host of the number of international meetings, only behind Singapore and USA.

There is room for much more and of course, Incheon’s strategic location provides excellent platform for international communities to meet and discuss global agendas. This means the MICE industry has been growing and will continue to expand, especially for Songdo.

The trend of increasing engagements of international organizations in Songdo and the MICE industry shows that the next generation of Koreans can contribute globally through the two industries. Korea boasts one of the highest levels of human capital in the globe. Even in the WBG, Korean nationals prosper in their role, and contribute to the goals of the institution. I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of commitment, diverse range of skills, and passion that Korean students have. The industries that can best utilize the skills are international development and MICE industry.

Conclusively, it is most apparent that there are a wide range of opportunities where Korean students and public can engage for both industries. This event provides an important stepping stone where students can really comprehend the industries. It is the youth who can make a difference to Korea and the globe. To do such, I encourage you to continuously connect and interact with others around you, including leveraging today’s event as a platform for in-depth understanding about International Development and MICE.

Event such as what we have today, is built on the successful partnership between the Incheon Metropolitan City and WBG Korea Office. From opening our office, the Incheon Metropolitan City has been active in supporting our operations. We hope to continue to expand the extent of the partnership for contribution to the local economy. I sincerely hope that today will be a significant learning lesson for all the participants and would like to wish everyone’s success.